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Hockey preview: Goal is to get to March

Frazier Bostwick

Frazier Bostwick will once again anchor the first line for the John Jay hockey team. (Scott Mullin)

After three straight trips to the Section 1 Division 2 semifinals, the John Jay hockey team will be looking to break through that barrier this season.
But a lot of hockey is to be played between now and then, so the team’s focus is simply on Saturday’s season opener at Pawling (8:50).
“We’re looking to start the season and hit the ground running,” said head coach Alex Smith. “We always try to get our game to the point where we get to compete in February to get to March.”
The challenge of extending the season to March will be helped by the fact that John Jay has one of its most experienced and deepest teams yet. The Indians have seven seniors and nine juniors on their roster of 20 players, and 16 of the players are back from last year’s squad.
“We have a great core of returning players,” said Smith. “The seniors and the juniors, they’ve been through sectional play and came up short. I think they certainly have more experience at that particular time of year.”
A year ago, the Indians finished at 16-6-1 record, with five losses coming by one goal.
The forward and defensive lines return pretty much intact from a year ago, although Vince Riocci, who played both forward and defense, and defenseman Dan Killea will be missed.
“They represented the grinding style we like to play. They’re going to be difficult to replace,” said Smith.
The forward line is once again led by senior Frazier Bostwick, a four-year starter on the first line who led the team with 28 goals and 46 points a year ago, earning All-League and All-Section honors.
Senior Jack Grimm is another four-year starter on the first line, after finishing third on the team last year in goals (21) and points (32).
The team’s other returning first line forward, junior Shawn Smith, is much improved and poised for a huge season, said his coach.
“I think with Shawn Smith having grown and matured as a hockey player…there’s more potential scoring punch than we’ve had in the past,” said coach Smith. “I think he’s a threat who can match the threat that Frazier is.”
Last season, Smith finished second on the team in goals (25) and points (35).
The deep pool of forwards also features several other veterans in seniors Thomas Blaney (four goals, nine assists), Connor Moore (seven goals, two assists) and Dylan McMichael (two assists), and juniors John Tobin (four assists) and Anthony Manno (five assists). Tobin will also see time on defense.
Smith said freshman forward Lucas Prestamo has already proven to be an energizing force, and will be among the top six forwards.
Also in the mix on the forward line at two other newcomers, juniors Kieran White and Cody Harris.
Despite the loss of All-League defenseman Killea, who had nine goals and a team-high 21 assists last season, the defense should be solid with the return of junior All-League defender Mark Leprine (five goals, 18 assists), senior Anthony Scapperotti (three goals, nine assists), juniors Jack Wertz (one goal, one assist) and Jeremy Morowitz (four assists) and sophomores Jesse Gasparino (one assist) and Tyler Posadas (one goal).
In goal, the Indians lost two of last year’s four goalies in Jake Petrillo (graduated) and Kyle St. Denis (transferred), but return junior Matt Lanza and senior Patrick White, and add sophomore Jason Styles.
Lanza saw more than half of the minutes a year ago, and finished with an 87.85 save percentage in 485 minutes. He was superb in the team’s 4-0 loss to Pelham in the section semifinals. White (97 minutes, 92.59 save percentage) also played solid in goal.
The Indians enter the season with more size, more depth and better conditioning, said Smith.
“Our schedule is harder so we’re trying to make sure we’re ready and all systems are go,” he said.

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